Apr 5, 2012

It’s quills at ten paces as Australian Poetry director walks

It may not quite be Lord Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade but the recent ructions inside Australia's peak poetry body have left some literary insiders scratching their heads at how it has quite come to this.

Andrew Crook — Former <em>Crikey</em> Senior Journalist

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

It may not quite be Lord Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade but the recent ructions inside Australia’s peak poetry body have left some literary insiders scratching their heads at how it has quite come to this.

Two weeks ago, in a long and passionate email, the Director of Australian Poetry Ltd, Paul Kooperman, hastily vacated his prized position, accusing board members of abandoning him after a long period of creative tension.

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7 thoughts on “It’s quills at ten paces as Australian Poetry director walks

  1. Holden Back

    I could write a sonnet, about your Easter bonnet . . . .

  2. Jackson Andy

    An official peak body for poetry in Australia will always be a damn hard ship to steer. I’m sure Paul, Victoria & Robert are enjoying their post-AP lives – good luck to whoever inherits their shoes!

  3. gonzalez luis

    It’s a shame that poetry in this country only gets major coverage when there’s a fight. I personally think that Paul, Robert and Victoria have done a hell of a job. Like Andy said, it weren’t ever going to be easy.

    Happily attendances at Melbourne poetry events have been on a definite upsurge recently and word from around the country is similarly positive.

    Steve Smart

  4. gonzalez luis

    Just to avoid confusion, I am not Luis Gonzalez. We’re just on the same Crikey account through the Overload Poetry Festival.


  5. koraly dimitriadis

    This is a very sad day for poetry. Paul is a very open minded and creative poet, happy to push boundaries and make poetry more accessible. I am guessing that the board are a bunch of academic poets. Why am i not suprised? Its just like the shift in the publication from blue dog which published a range of different styles of poetry to the ap journal which published mostly academic poetry. Hopefully the person that takes his place is as open minded to the different forms of poetry but i am sure the board wont be hiring anyone like that

  6. whitington luke

    i spoke to paul just before this surprise decision, about the growing view of the same old faces running everything their way and the serious disappointment nsw poets feel in the loss of our poetry centre in kings cross.

    if melbourne has the wheeler centre why do we have ours taken away.

    poets need hubs at least to meet. the online meeting lacks touch, taste and smell.

    the more it changes the more it stays the same,

  7. J J

    As a member of Poetry Australia, but a rather inactive one, who merely uses the organisation’s billboard to advertise the occasional gig, the whole imbroglio that has now blown up seems more a matter for regret than of serious concern.

    I have no connection with AP’s inner workings and personnel, so my ‘outsider’ view may bring a disinterested calm to the debate. It seems that all parties in this ‘conflict’ have been equally passionate in their commitment to poetry, and for PA’s promotion of the art in the wider community.

    Insiders have differed in their methods and priorities.

    A hugely experienced Board has tried to set the organisation on a solid foundation for the long-term, while pursuing a wider vision, including national and international links. While a younger generation is attracted by new media, its expectations shaped by the instant nature of digital culture, with all its seductive froth and bubble.

    Of course, a balance is possible, and I am sure will eventually be achieved, given a little patience and drawing on the overwhelming good will and support of PA’s diverse membership.

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